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27 Mar 2012

EarthRights Intl., Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll

Victims of Colombian Atrocities Win Right to Sue Chiquita for Complicity Under Colombian Law

Colombian villagers suing Chiquita Brands International...will have their Colombian legal claims considered by a federal court, according to an order issued today by a United States federal district court judge in Florida. This comes on top of a decision from last year, which found that the court can also consider claims for the torture and killing of plaintiffs’ family members under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS)...Today’s order increases the probability that the case will eventually go to trial...EarthRights International and other groups have filed a number of lawsuits against Chiquita on behalf of thousands of victims of paramilitary violence in the Colombian region of Urabá. The plaintiffs claim that the company struck a business deal with paramilitaries and other armed groups in which the paramilitaries suppressed labor organization through both random and targeted violence in exchange for financial assistance and access to Chiquita’s private port for arms and drug smuggling. Chiquita has admitted to paying the paramilitaries from 1997 to 2004...